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Safely cut shaker slot without a router table?

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Sgian Dubh

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I will usually use a fence on my router table unless I need to cut a curve, when the fence can’t be used, as the fence has dust collection in it. I’m currently using a slot cutting bit with a fence. So superfluous? Not so much IMHO
Seanf talked about using a side fence on his hand held router, and that is the kind of set up I was responding to; maybe I should have made that clearer, so sorry about that. Extraction in hand held router use isn't attached to the side fence, or at least I haven't ever come across that arrangement.

In the case of inverted table mounted routers extraction via a fence is normal so, where it's practical, use of it for this purpose obviously makes sense. There are arrangements in addition to fence mounted extraction for for sucking out dust and so on usually involving hoods or similar that can be set up for most curved work. Slainte.
 

sometimewoodworker

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Extraction in hand held router use isn't attached to the side fence, or at least I haven't ever come across that arrangement.
Both my OFK700 and OF1400 have dust collection options on the side fence. So now there are 2 for your information. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that all the others in the range have the same
 

Sgian Dubh

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Both my OFK700 and OF1400 have dust collection options on the side fence. So now there are 2 for your information. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that all the others in the range have the same
Interesting. I don't have a great deal of experience with Festool kit in general with the exception of their track saws, Domino machines, sanders and vacuums, and pretty limited use with two or three of their router models. I currently have a mentoring contract where there's a Festool router available for use. I think it might be the OF 1400 model and I don't recall the extraction being attached to the fence, so I'll have to look again. I do recall that the machine with its extraction seemed to be all set up bass-ackwards, inconvenient to use with the controls in the wrong place and the hose constantly in the way with a tendency for it to pull the machine away from the desired cut. I know we gave up on it for the task we were doing and swapped the cutter out into a small DeWalt router, probably the D26204K, which seemed to work better for us.

I'll have to have a closer look at that Festool router the next time I'm there to see if it's the same model you mention and if it's somehow been set up incorrectly making it on the occasion I'm talking about such a pain in the paints to use. I say that because Festool kit is usually pretty good in my experience, even if it can sometimes come across as a bit over engineered and perhaps delicate. Slainte.
 

sometimewoodworker

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I think it might be the OF 1400 model and I don't recall the extraction being attached to the fence, so I'll have to look again
The OF1400 on fence extraction is an option that can be used instead of the over cut extraction so they may not have bought it & it may not be available to you. This is also the case with the OFK700 that there are different extraction options.

The OF 1400 & OF 1010 take some getting used to due to the side handle but once you do they are great and not significantly different from other routers FWIW I have 5 non Festool ones so I do know what I’m talking about & my first one is an ELU that still in use 50 years after I first used it.

OFK
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OF
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Sgian Dubh

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The OF1400 on fence extraction is an option that can be used instead of the over cut extraction so they may not have bought it & it may not be available to you. This is also the case with the OFK700 that there are different extraction options.
The Festool router I found so irritating looks very similar to your images, handle and all. It certainly only had dust channelling via the cowling above the cutter. All those bits of plastic that attach to side fence you show weren't in the tool case.

I do seem to recall the primary cause of irritation was that the side fence only seems to fit properly to one side of the router. Try to fit the fence on the other side and the gap between the two bits of L shaped plastic no longer centre on the cutter, and that's what I wanted to do make the tool more user friendly. I'll have to look at that router next time I'm working on the mentoring contract I mentioned to see if I've misunderstood something about the set-up. I'm not doubting your experience. I'm curious mostly because I found that Festool so user unfriendly, and I'd like to find out why.

On a side note I was very fond of my earliest Elu routers bought in the 1970s, and I suspect I'd still be running one or two of them them if I hadn't moved to the US in the early 1990s and decided to sell them because of the difference in electrical supply over there. Nowadays, in my own work, I run DeWalt routers, so I guess I moved on to the spawn of Elu. But when I've had work in other people's workshops I've used all sorts of different makes of routers supplied by the workshop; some were very good, some terrible, and everything in between I guess, ha, ha. Slainte.
 

sometimewoodworker

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I do seem to recall the primary cause of irritation was that the side fence only seems to fit properly to one side of the router. Try to fit the fence on the other side and the gap between the two bits of L shaped plastic no longer centre on the cutter, and that's what I wanted to do make the tool more user friendly.
The L shaped plastic is held on by screws that are in slots so movable toward and away from the cutter. The fence is symmetrical to the bit as are the support rods. Probably someone had moved one of the plastic pieces further away from the bit than the other so it seemed asymmetrical, it isn’t. I don’t make extensive use of the fences but I have used one on either side of the router and there is no significant difference that I noticed, apart from the fact that due to the flat on the router base it will fit further over when mounted on that side And from both sides it can go way beyond the router bit.

There is only 1 piece of plastic for the OF1400. The others 2 are separate dust extraction ports for the OFK700

A point I missed is the micro adjustment mechanism built into the fences along with the ability to use it on a Festool rail. So all in all, yes the router is expensive however with the extras it is far more capable than any other that I know of.
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Sgian Dubh

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I happened to be doing my mentoring role today, and had chance to have a quick look at the router I was mumping about. It turns out it's a Festool OF1010, not the OF 1400. It's very similar in layout to the one shown in this Festool blog. In nearly all the operations illustrated there the long handle with the trigger point off to the right which lends itself to easy triggering and locking of the tool. Interestingly, even they show that to use the tool with a side fence the long pistol handle is to the left side of the user, and that's the pain in the pants that was annoying me.

To use the long handle grip pointing to the user's left means triggering with the left hand which makes the locking button hard to get at because it can't be reached with your thumb, and you have to trigger with the middle finger, and contort the index finger to reach the lock button, see image below, lifted from the blog linked above. Triggering and locking with the handle in the right hand is easily accomplished by triggering with the index and/or middle finger and pressing the locking button with the thumb.

Turning the fence around so that it protrudes from the other side of the base would allow right handed triggering, but the problem then is that metal part of the fence with the the circular arced cutout is no longer centred on the cutter, which would mean larger cutters could hit metal.

I didn't have chance to take any snaps whilst there today, maybe I will have time next week. There seems to be another problem with the dust collection arrangement on the router I was looking at today, which seems to be unlike the arrangement in the image below. In the tool I was playing with today, the dust directing shroud or hood points the other way and diagonally onto the work area to what's shown below, so in use you're pushing the hose in front of you rather dragging it behind the router in use.

Anyway, it all seems rather curious, and if I get chance I'll have to take a few pictures to better illustrate what I'm describing.

We seem to have diverged quite some distance from the original point of this thread, but that happens sometimes. Slainte.

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sometimewoodworker

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I happened to be doing my mentoring role today, and had chance to have a quick look at the router I was mumping about. It turns out it's a Festool OF1010, not the OF 1400. It's very similar in layout to the one shown in this Festool blog. In nearly all the operations illustrated there the long handle with the trigger point off to the right which lends itself to easy triggering and locking of the tool. Interestingly, even they show that to use the tool with a side fence the long pistol handle is to the left side of the user, and that's the pain in the pants that was annoying me.

To use the long handle grip pointing to the user's left means triggering with the left hand which makes the locking button hard to get at because it can't be reached with your thumb, and you have to trigger with the middle finger, and contort the index finger to reach the lock button, see image below, lifted from the blog linked above. Triggering and locking with the handle in the right hand is easily accomplished by triggering with the index and/or middle finger and pressing the locking button with the thumb.

Turning the fence around so that it protrudes from the other side of the base would allow right handed triggering, but the problem then is that metal part of the fence with the the circular arced cutout is no longer centred on the cutter, which would mean larger cutters could hit metal.
I completely agree that it is a right handed router, as is the OF1400. I can also see that in the Festool videos that they insert the fence the way you describe, and that leads to kackhanded use of the fence at 8:56 in their video under.

The point I’m having difficulty with is that every router I’ve ever used or own has the accessory rods spaced equidistant from the router bit with the fence having symmetrically spaced mounting points. From the pictures the OF1010 looks to be no different.
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so I’m am completely confused as to how putting the fence from either the right or left side does not have the cutter in the exact centre of the cutout In the fence.

Since I don’t have an OF1010 I can’t say that you are wrong, so would love to see pictures to explain how I am misunderstanding the situation.

AFIK the items used are the router, 2 rods and 1 fence (that is in the picture above), is that correct?

The only reason I can see for using the fence mounted so the handle is (as in the video) on the left would be that pushing the router with the handle is preferred and that to have the bit rotating in the preferred direction the fence needs to be on the side shown.

This is not the only example of what I consider slightly kackhanded design as the TS55 is setup for a left handed user. So maybe Festool engineers are all left handed?
 
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Sgian Dubh

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I completely agree that it is a right handed router, as is the OF1400. I can also see that in the Festool videos that they insert the fence the way you describe, and that leads to kackhanded use of the fence at 8:56 in their video under.

so I’m am completely confused as to how putting the fence from either the right or left side does not have the cutter in the exact centre of the cutout In the fence.

This is not the only example of what I consider slightly kackhanded design as the TS55 is setup for a left handed user. So maybe Festool engineers are all left handed?
Next time I'm over at that place I'll have to take a few photos, if I have time.

If you have a look at the video you linked to in your last post, and start viewing from approximately 6:40 minutes onwards you get a decent, if very brief look at the side fence as the demonstrator installs it. You might need to pause and go backwards and forwards a bit, but if you look carefully you'll see that the arced cut-out in the metal isn't central between the rods that attach to the router's base. I'd say that the fence is intended only to fit to the one side of the router in order to keep that arced cut-out centred on the centre point of the collet (and any installed router cutter). It leads to, as shown by the demonstrator a couple of minutes later in that video, uncomfortably compromised and cack-handed manoeuvring of the router along the edge of the wood.

Anyway, it irritated me because, like you, my experience is that side fences can generally be mounted on either side of the router and the opening in the fence will be central in relation to the collet's centre point. True, generally speaking, most routers are more comfortable to operate with the side fence mounted pointing one particular direction, and less so than the other way, i.e., access to controls, i.e., switches, lock buttons, plunge controls, and the like; but if a user chooses to mount the fence in the less user friendly way, so to speak, there's usually a reason, and the compromises in controllability have been accounted for. In the case of this Festool router the designers seemed to have either knowingly or unknowingly designed the tool to be awkward to use in at least one particular mode, i.e., used with a side fence for grooving rebating, applying mouldings, etc.

As I say, I'll try and get some pictures next week. Slainte.
 

sometimewoodworker

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As I say, I'll try and get some pictures next week. Slainte.
I can distinctly see what you are talking about now. It seems a gross oversight to me as well. It maybe one of the very few with this apparent design flaw.

However I can’t recall making a cut where this would be a problem. All the cuts I’ve made with a fence were outboard of the plastic pieces. That is not to say that you have a different experience and use the cutout in the fence, I just never have. I would be interested to know which bit you used and the kind of cut you were making. More knowledge is always good.
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Sgian Dubh

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I can distinctly see what you are talking about now. It seems a gross oversight to me as well. It maybe one of the very few with this apparent design flaw.

I would be interested to know which bit you used and the kind of cut you were making. More knowledge is always good.
Well, a bit of a funny one maybe, but the cuts I was demonstrating with the intention of being copied was using a 6 mm diameter straight cutter hogging out the bulk of the waste between lap dovetail pins in drawer fronts with the side fence fitted to control the inset of the cut from the end of the drawer front. So, lots of plunging and short runs between the pins, plus using the the side fence from time to time as a means to pivot the router cutter into and out of he bits where waste had to be removed, which naturally requires the ability to have excellent control of the router. The Festool router was just too unwieldy for the job, or at least I found it unwieldy - maybe others find that particular router model the bees knees to use, but not me.

It was at that point that I switched over to using the small DeWalt D26204K router. I removed the two bits of plastic fence material that comes with the DeWalt and replaced it with a length of 6 mm thick wood that spans across the fence's central arc and extends beyond the end of the metal part at both sides by about 50 mm. I would have made a similar fence modification to the Festool router, i.e., replace the plastic bits but the Festool router was so inconvenient to use I haven't bothered. I think the vast majority of router owners replace the two factory supplied bits of plastic that come with the fence with a single piece of wood; I do it, in part, because it's quite common for the two plastic guide pieces are sometimes slightly misaligned, and the gap can cause some lack of control at the beginning and end of cuts. All my DeWalt routers are modified in this way, and once I've got one replacement fence fitted accurately I use it as a template to make two or three spares ready as future replacements for my post fitted wooden fence that eventually gets mashed up by some sort of routing operation. Slainte.
 

sometimewoodworker

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@Sgian Dubh from what you described it sounds as if all the work was outboard of the fence? If so then would the position of the fence cutout have been of any importance? The routers I have that have the plastic pieces, haven’t misaligned and the plastic buts up to each other so there is no gap, so maybe I misunderstand.

if you are using that extension/replacement guide surely you can just put the fence on from the other side? & the handel on the right gives far more control if you are pivoting the router into or out of the work using the fence, doesn't it?
 

Sgian Dubh

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@Sgian Dubh from what you described it sounds as if all the work was outboard of the fence? If so then would the position of the fence cutout have been of any importance? The routers I have that have the plastic pieces, haven’t misaligned and the plastic buts up to each other so there is no gap, so maybe I misunderstand.

if you are using that extension/replacement guide surely you can just put the fence on from the other side? & the handel on the right gives far more control if you are pivoting the router into or out of the work using the fence, doesn't it?
You're correct to say that with a small cutter (~6 mm dia) the offset cut out in the fence wouldn't really matter. But in truth there were one or two other factors that led to the switch to the little DeWalt router. One was, if I remember it right, the cowling for the dust extraction was a factor because it hid the target area and the hose made the tool unwieldy. I also have a memory of the overall size and layout of the router and its controls were another. It's been a while now since I swapped the Festool for the DeWalt router so my memory of the cause(s) for switching are perhaps getting hazy.

Anyway, I think I'll have chance to look at that Festool again later this week, and I'll try to find time to take a few pictures that may help make things clearer. Slainte.
 

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